Ah yes, Italian rice. More fondly known as Risotto, many people I know tend to not like Risotto because of its starchy nature and somewhat uncooked texture. I am not a huge rice person despite being Asian but the Risotto has proven to remain a recurring dish on my Italian palette. I was taught by a fellow Italian friend who has since returned to Venice, Italy how to cook Risotto. Since then, I have made numerous versions of it for my liking.
This recipe was not much of an experiment but rather having had bips and bops in the fridge. And since I have not had Risotto for a while now, I figured why not. So what's the recipe?
1 cup of Arborio Rice (can be bought at your local Tesco's, Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer)
4 Brown Cup Mushroom - sliced
8 - 10 Cherry tomatoes - sliced in half
1 packet of pre-washed pea shoots
1 chicken breast - diced and marinated with salt and pepper
750ml vegetable or chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic or half a bulb of yellow onion
A dash of dried herbs - oregano and basil
A dash of olive oil
- Firstly make your stock. If you have no idea what goes into a stock, then the simplest would be vegetable stock. At a local supermarket, there would be a packet of random vegetables tied together. This is what they use for vegetable stock. It would most likely consist of carrots, celery, a bouquet garni, some other root vegetables and so forth. I just use whatever vegetables I have in my fridge to make it. So roughly dice your vegetables including a bulb of yellow onion, place in 1 litre of water and just boil. Add some salt for taste but there is no need for it.
- When stock is simmering, prepare a deep frying pan for the rice. There is no need to prewash the rice.
- In the pan, dash in the olive oil and toss in the garlic or onions which ever you prefer. Stir till fragrant. Add a bit of salt and then toss in the chicken breast. Quickly fry them so that it looks cooked on all sides but still pink in the middle.
- Now pour in the rice and stir to coat the rice with the oil, onions and chicken. Next add 2 scoops of vegetable stock into the rice pan and stir. Reduce the heat of the rice pan and let it simmer. Next add in your vegetables - the cherry tomatoes, pea shoots and brown cap mushrooms. Continue stirring.
- When you notice that the stock seems to have reduce, add in another scoop of vegetable stock and stir into the rice mixture. Be alert as you don't want to see your rice sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Again when the stock has reduce and the rice seems to have fatten up, add another scoop of vegetable stock. This time add in your dry herbs, salt and pepper to taste and stir. Let it sit for about 2 to 3 minutes or until stock seems to have reduce even further. The rice will looks absolutely fat and stout! That's when you know the rice is fully cooked.
- It'll look a little slimy but that is Risotto for you. Dish it out and serve hot!
I had a blast cooking it. And being me, I always add a dash of chilli flakes into it. But that is always optional. If you can't find pea shoots, then use rocket salad. This recipe can actually feed two people so if you can't finish at the first go, keep the remainder in the fridge, take it out add a little of vegetable stock in a pot and stir your rice until it has heated through. TADA!!!!
Going to explore more Italian dishes,
The Innovative Baker